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Weather History: January 1: Record temps, storms, wind, snow & floods

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Meteorological events that happened on January 1st:

1858

French astronomer Le Verrier was appointed to see if the military disaster at Sevastopol could have been avoided with an accurate weather forecast. He found that it could have and set out to establish a telegraphic weather reporting network. On this date, he made his first daily weather bulletin. Once again, military needs resulted in the birth of an important Meteorological service.

1864

Snow, gales and severe cold hit the Midwest. It was the most brutal coldest New Year's Day on record with afternoon highs of -25° at Minneapolis, MN and -16° at Chicago, IL.

A farmer near Huntertown, IN reported the same high temperature as Chicago, with a low of -21°. In his weather diary he made the remark "rough day". Louisville, KY dropped 67 degrees to -20°. Lansing, MI set a record low with -23°.

1885

The temperature plunged to -63° at Poplar River, MT. The residents of Regina, Saskatchewan Canada also rang in the New Year with a record cold temperature of -58°.

Locations across the U.S. that reported record lows for the date included: Bismarck, ND: -36°, Fargo, ND: -35°, Huron, SD: -33°, Duluth, MN: -26°, North Platte, NE: -20°, Omaha, NE: -18°, Dodge City, KS: -18°, Des Moines, IA: -17°, Lewiston, ID: -2°-Tied and Fort Smith, AR: 8°-Tied.

1886

Norway's coldest night on record occurred as the low temperature dropped to -60.5° at Karasjok.

1910

Severe flooding almost completely destroyed about 84 miles of railroad along Clover Creek and Meadow Valley Wash and severely damaged agricultural property in the lower Moapa Valley and in the Panaca Valley in California. Peak discharges were estimated at 11,000 cubic feet per second at Caliente on Meadow Valley Wash, and 7,000 cubic feet per second at the Wells Siding Dam site on the Muddy River.

Fresno, CA recorded their greatest New Years Day snowfall on record with 0.6 of an inch.

1916

Rainmaker Charles Hatfield offered to bring rain to a parched San Diego, CA for $10,000. On this date, he began to burn strange chemicals to summon rain. It did begin to rain on January 10th. The problem was that it didn’t stop raining for days and damaging floods resulted. The city refused to pay him the money.

1918

New England suffered through its coldest New Years Day in modern history. The temperature plunged to -32° at Van Buren, ME., -24° at Northfield, VT, -20° at Bethlehem, NH and -7° at New Haven, CT.

Locations reporting daily record lows included: Syracuse, NY: -9°, Hartford, CT: -8°, Amarillo, TX: -8°, Williamsport, PA: -7°, Milton, MA: -6°, Worcester, MA: -5°, Mansfield, OH: -4°, New York (Central Park), NY: -4°, Boston, MA: -3°, Avoca, PA: -3°, Providence, RI: -3°, Dayton, OH: -1°, Wilmington, DE: 0°, Buffalo, NY: 0°-Tied, Cincinnati, OH: 1°, Pittsburgh, PA: 1°, Lexington, KY: 3°, Lynchburg, VA: 3°, Erie, PA: 3°-Tied, Harrisburg, PA: 4°, Athens, GA: 6°, Columbia, SC: 6°, Richmond, VA: 6°, Greensboro, NC: 8°, Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: 8°, Roanoke, VA: 8°, Wilmington, NC: 11°, Charlotte, NC: 11°-Tied, Raleigh, NC: 12°, Augusta, GA: 12°, Norfolk, VA: 12°, Gainesville, FL: 18°, Tallahassee, FL: 19°, Savannah, GA: 20°, Jacksonville, FL: 21°, Pensacola, FL: 25°-Tied, West Palm Beach, FL: 35°, Miami, FL: 36° and Key West, FL: 51°.

While the east shivered, locations across the west enjoyed record high temperatures for the date including: Escondido, CA: 85°, Yuma, AZ: 82°, Phoenix, AZ: 80°, Tucson, AZ: 78°, Santa Maria, CA: 77°, Pueblo, CO: 71°, Pendleton, OR: 67°, Colorado Springs, CO: 64°, Lander, WY: 64°, Spokane, WA: 62°, Salem, OR: 62°, Elko, NV: 60°, Winnemucca, NV: 60°, Seattle, WA: 60°, Helena, MT: 59°, Lewiston, ID: 59°, Flagstaff, AZ: 58° and Grand Junction, CO: 53°.

1934

Heavy rainfall led to flooding across most of southern California starting on 12/30/1933 and ending on this day, except around San Diego and the deserts. On this day 6.90 inches at Placentia, 6.21 inches fell at Fullerton, 5.38 inches at Orange, 5.16 inches at Yorba Linda, 5.04 inches at Anaheim, 4.81 inches at Garden Grove, 4.69 inches at Buena Park, 3.55 inches at San Juan Capistrano, 3.41 inches at Santa Ana, 3.24 inches at Newport Beach, 2.96 inches at Laguna Beach, 3 inches at San Clemente, 2.68 inches at Oceanside, 2.65 inches at Redlands, 2.44 inches at Escondido, 1.56 inches at Carlsbad, 0.67 inch at San Diego and 0.48 inch at Victorville. Storm totals in southern slopes of mountains topped 12 inches, the heaviest: 16.29 inches at Azusa. From 12/31/1933 to this day 7.36 inches of rain fell in 24 hours at Los Angeles, a 24 hour record for the city. The Los Angeles storm total was 8.26 since 12/30/1933. 45 people died in the floods. Walls of water and debris up to ten feet high were noted in some canyon areas. Damage was estimated at $5 million dollars.

1935

The Associated Press Wire Photo Service made its debut, delivering the famous weather maps, twice each day to newspapers across the country.

1947

Severe thunderstorms produced hailstones the size of oranges at Sydney, Australia causing moderate damage.

1949

A 6-day blizzard began over the Northern Rockies and the Great Plains. The storm produced the most adverse weather conditions in the history of the west.

1964

While temperatures were quite chilly east of the Mississippi River some areas from the Rockies to the West Coast enjoyed record high temperatures including: Riverside, CA: 88°, Santa Ana, CA: 81°, Downtown Los Angeles, CA: 80°, Long Beach, CA: 79°, Idyllwild, CA: 73°, Reno, NV: 68°, Great Falls, MT: 61°, Ely, NV: 61°, Sheridan, WY: 59°, Havre, MT: 58°, Yakima, WA: 53° and Glasgow, MT: 48°.

1965

The New Year began with a 5-day snowstorm that dumped a total of 71.7 inches at Cartwright, Newfoundland Canada.

The New Year started out very wet at Peoria, IL as 4.43 inches fell, making this the wettest January day on record in the city.

1970

The biggest mid-winter snowfall accumulation in two decades paralyzed traffic across portions of the north Black Hills of South Dakota. Three to four feet of new snow accumulated over the New Year's Holiday. For the three day period ending this date, a few accumulations included 46 inches at Deadwood and 37 inches at Lead. Gusty winds of 25 to 40 mph produced additional problems by creating widespread drifting which blocked roads. Further west, Lewiston, ID set a record low with -6°.

1974

Mayo, Yukon Territory, reported a high barometric pressure reading of 31.53 inHg.

1976

An intense area of low pressure moved across parts of the northern Plains spreading widespread snow across South Dakota. The snow began on New Years Eve in the west and the spread east across the rest of the state on New Years Day. North winds increased to near 40 mph with gusts to 50 mph which created near blizzard conditions through New Years Day. Snowfalls ranged from 4 to 12 inches across the state with some reports of over 20 inches in the Black Hills. For several days after the storm, overnight lows ranged from -20° to -35°.

Behind the storm, a few locations reported record low temperatures including: Bishop, CA: 8°-Tied, Fresno, CA: 21°, Stockton, CA: 22°, Santa Maria, CA: 24° and Yuma, AZ: 27°. A few locations started the year off with record highs including: Corpus Christi, TX: 82° and Dallas, TX: 76°.

1979

A deep amplified upper level trough combined with arctic high pressure brought extreme cold from the Plains to the West Coast. The temperature at Maybell, CO plunged to -60° to tie the state record set back in 1951 at Taylor Park. This record was broken on 2/1/1985. Olympia, WA set their all-time record low with -8. This reading broke the previous daily record by 16 degrees.

Locations that reported daily record low temperatures included: Kalispell, MT: -37°, Casper, WY: -29°, Missoula, MT: -28°, Spokane, WA: -22° (broke previous record by 11 degrees), Pendleton, OR: -12°, Yakima, WA: -10°, Wichita, KS: -5°-Tied, Roswell, NM: -2°, Midland-Odessa, TX:: 5°, Eugene, OR: 7°, Wichita Falls, TX: 7°, Quillayute, WA: 10°, San Angelo, TX: 11°, Astoria, OR: 14°, Portland, OR: 14°, Waco, TX: 15°-Tied, Sacramento, CA: 23°, Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 25° and Lake Charles, LA: 26°.

Upper level high pressure brought a warm start to the year across Florida. Orlando, FL tied their record high with 83°.

1981

An upper level ridge brought record high temperatures from the Rockies to the West Coast including: Palm Springs, CA: 84°, Borrego Springs, CA: 81°, Phoenix, AZ: 81°, Tucson, AZ: 79°, Las Vegas, NV: 69°, Big Bear Lake, CA: 67°, Albuquerque, NM: 62°, Flagstaff, AZ: 61°, Astoria, OR: 60°, Portland, OR: 60°, Grand Junction, CO: 56°, Quillayute, WA: 55°, Pocatello, ID: 53° and Alamosa, CO: 51°.

1984

A severe cold spell finally broke on New Year's Day at Topeka, KS when the mercury finally rose above 32° after 554 hours. An unprecedented cold spell set temperature records every morning from 12/18 to 12/25/1983. A deep snow cover kept temperatures at or below zero for a record-setting 95 consecutive hours from 12/21 – 12/25/1983. The lowest temperature of -17° occurred on 12/22/1983.

1985

A severe ice storm struck southern Lower Michigan as a layer of ice up to one inch thick downed tree limbs and power lines. There were three deaths and eight injuries directly related to the ice storm. Over 430,000 electrical customers were without power, some for as long as 10 days. Total damage was estimated at nearly $50 million dollars.

1987

A winter storm brought rain, snow and high winds to the Southern and Mid-Atlantic Coast. The storm, which occurred in a period of unusually high astronomical tides, produced a tide of 9.4 feet at Myrtle Beach, SC; their highest since Hurricane Hazel in 1954. Damage totaled $25 million dollars in South Carolina.

Further to the north, more than one foot of snow blanketed portions of Pennsylvania.

1988

Arctic cold gripped the north central U.S. courtesy of a strong upper level over Hudson Bay in Canada and surface high pressure across the northern Rockies. The morning low of -31° at Alamosa, CO was a record for the date.

Squalls in the Great Lakes Region produced 17 inches of snow at Elmira, NY.

1989

The year began with dense fog prevailed from Texas to Wisconsin producing visibilities as low as zero. Brownsville, TX started off the New Year with a record high of 83°.

1990

The New Year and decade began on a rather peaceful note across the U.S. Snow was primarily confined to the Great Lakes Region, the Upper Ohio Valley, and the Sierra Nevada Range of California. Subzero temperatures were confined to Minnesota and North Dakota.

1993

On this date through the 2nd, an intense storm system brought accumulations of sleet and freezing rain to much of Oklahoma. Although rain amounts were light, generally less than .10 of an inch, it was enough to cause very slippery road conditions. Morning rush hour was severely hampered in many areas. Traffic accidents were numerous. The icy weather caused numerous traffic including a 35 car pile up in Oklahoma City shortly after midnight. The ice also caused havoc with area airport operations. Two passenger jets slid off icy runways at Will Rogers World Airport. Fortunately, temperatures rose to just above freezing and icing was no longer a problem by noon.

1994

Strong winds along the eastern slopes of the Central Rockies gusted to 80 mph near Estes Park, CO and 70 mph at Arlington, WY. A series of storms the first 3 days of the year produced 20 inches of snow at Lowman, in the west central mountains of Idaho and 14 inches at Tollgate, OR.

1996

A small F0 tornado touched down in the Eau Gallie area of Melbourne near U.S. Highway 1 in eastern Florida. It moved east northeast about one half mile and lifted as it approached the Indian River Lagoon. The tornado blew down trees on top of houses and garages and overturned a large travel trailer.

1997

Heavy rains over northern California produced mudslides and swollen rivers. The storm would cause the worst damage in the history of Yosemite National Park as melting snow and heavy rains washed out roads, bridges and facilities. The park was closed for nearly 3 months.

A series of thunderstorms moving into Yosemite National Park, CA resulted in major flooding in Yosemite Valley from the combination of heavy rain and melting snowpack. This was the onset of the January 1997 flooding event that resulted in losses of $190 million to the Central California Interior.

Upper level high pressure extending from west Texas to the West Coast brought record highs to a few locations including: Lubbock, TX: 76°, Bakersfield, CA: 74°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 73°-Tied, Clayton, NM: 70°, Denver, CO: 66°, Stockton, CA: 66°, Sheridan, WY: 64°, Sacramento, CA: 64°, Winnemucca, NV: 62°, Olympia, WA: 55°, Burns, OR: 53° and Pocatello, ID: 53-Tied°.

1999

A major winter storm affected areas from the Midwest and later the Ohio Valley, during the first few days of 1999. Snow began falling across portions of central Illinois before noon on New Year's Day, and continued at moderate to heavy rates for most of the following 24 hour period. Areas from Charleston southward also saw the snow mixed with rain or freezing rain at times. Once the snow ended, high winds developed, causing severe blowing and drifting snow, and dangerous wind chills. The heaviest snow band extended from near Quincy, to Virginia, then through the Peoria and Bloomington areas to Champaign, where 14 or more inches of snow were common. The weight of the heavy snow caused many roofs and porches to collapse, causing one death and one injury.

Ste. St. Marie, MI and Jackson, KY reported record morning lows of -23° and 11° respectively.

2002

Intense lake effect snow squalls buried sections of Lewis County in New York with tremendous snows. Snowfalls for the four day period ending on this day were 127 inches at Montague, 104 inches at Highmarket and 86 inches at North Osceola. The 127 inches at Montague is one of the greatest snowfalls ever recorded for a single lake effect snow event.

60 foot high flames pushed dangerously close to Sydney, Australia as 100 degree temperatures and strong winds fanned the Black Christmas wildfires that had been burning across New South Wales since Christmas Eve. Over 750,000 acres of Australian bush burned in the fires. Sadly, many of the fires were set by arsonists.

2004

Heavy snow derailed a passenger car on the California Zephyr 40 miles west of Truckee in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. The westbound Amtrak train was detained for 14 hours by the weather and accident, stranding 300 people.

2006

Record high temperatures in the 70s, very low relative humidity values, high winds, and two and a half months without measurable precipitation combined to produce a very active fire weather day in parts of eastern New Mexico. A grass fire driven by wind burned 50,000 acres west of Hobbs on New Year's Day. The western side of Hobbs had to be evacuated, including the community college, a casino, and several neighborhoods. Three firefighters sustained minor injuries, but no one was seriously injured. Eleven homes, two businesses and 10 vehicles were destroyed by the fire. In addition to the wildfire west of Hobbs, NM two fires burned near the town of Tatum. No structures were damaged in these fires, however, U.S. Highway 380 was closed from Roswell to the Texas state line during the day. According to local authorities, one fire near Tatum was caused by fireworks and the other was sparked by a car accident.

Locations reporting record high temperatures for the date included: Waco, TX: 86°, Austin, TX: 85°, Del Rio, TX: 85°, Corpus Christi, TX: 84°, Austin (Bergstrom), TX: 84°, Dallas (DFW), TX: 83°, San Angelo, TX: 83°, San Antonio, TX: 83°, Victoria, TX: 83°, Dallas (Love Field), TX: 82°, Abilene, TX: 82°-Tied, New Orleans, LA: 81°, Wichita Falls, TX: 81°, Houston, TX: 81°-Tied, Oklahoma City, OK: 77°, Little Rock, AR: 77°, Tulsa, OK: 76°, Midland-Odessa, TX: 76° and Fort Smith, AR: 76°-Tied.

Sydney, Australia records a high of 111.6°, the second hottest day on record here, their highest maximum temperature on record here is 113.5° recorded in 1939. Records date back to 1859. Meanwhile, Sydney Airport recorded its hottest day on record reaching 113.4°.

2009

A strong blizzard which began on New Years Eve continues to hit the Canadian Maritimes. The storm was characterized by very low barometer readings including: Sable Island, Nova Scotia: 966 millibars or 28.54 inHg and Sidney, Nova Scotia, 970 millibars or 28.65 inHg.) with strong winds. One gust in Halifax Harbor reached 85 mph. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island was buried under 19.3 inches of snow while Yarmouth Airport, Nova Scotia received 16 inches of snow and Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, recorded 14 inches.

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